Current Cites

December 2016

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

Cohen, Dan, Seth  Denbo, and Kathleen  Fitzpatrick, et. al.Concerted Thought, Collaborative Action, and the Future of the Print Record  New York: Modern Language Association, 16 December 2016.( - This "white paper" proposes a "national system for print collection management" -- kind of a collective library storage facility on steroids. The "steroids" part includes proposed benefits like "better metadata about those books, including their condition, history, and archival status" and "increased attention to preserve unique, scarce, or unusual materials". The paper is perhaps understandably weak on suggestions of funding sources, although it appears that initially grants would be sought to plan and implement the effort. It also appears that the paper assumes at least some of the cost would be born by libraries paying into the effort along the lines of HathiTrust. Also specifically mentioned was being able to avoid the building of additional local storage facilities, although it is hard to know how cost avoidance will pay the bills. Overall the paper seems to be written by scholars, and therefore could use more of the kind of perspective that a "boots-on-the-ground-librarian" would bring. For example, the practicalities of shipping books around from large central facilities was barely mentioned. In the end, the conversation needs to be broadened to include more input from librarians. Unfortunately, the only scheduled discussion of the document is at the upcoming MLA Conference, with no mention of ALA Midwinter or Annual, where surely it must be aired to gain the perspectives of those who would likely eventually be charged with implementing this ambitious plan. - RT

Comeaux, David J. "Web Design Trends in Academic Libraries - A Longitudinal StudyJournal of Web Librarianship  (23 November 2016)( - Nothing like a longitudinal study of library websites to end one year and kick off another. This study in particular looks at changes to the websites of 37 academic libraries from 2012 to 2015. was a key tool as the author surveyed the annual state of each website, looking at things from main navigation to cms. Trends included the adoption of responsive design, increasing use of similar labels (eg., ‘About’, ‘Research’, etc.), main navigation at the top, and in the words of the author, a design pattern of ‘one size fits most’. - LRK

Jones, Shawn M., Herbert  Van de Sompel, and Harihar  Shankar, et. al."Scholarly Context Adrift: Three out of Four URI References Lead to Changed ContentPLOS ONE  11(12)(2016): e0167475. ( - The Byrds once sang:"Things that seemed to be solid are not." Nothing could be truer for scholarly citations on the Internet. Link rot is nothing new. We all know that stuff disappears at an alarming rate, and, unless it is archived (mainly in the Internet Archive) it's gone forever. What makes this study interesting is that it looks at "content drift": it's still there, but it's different--sometimes radically different--and there is no way to know how different unless there is an archived snapshot of the page to compare it to. In this large-scale study, the authors first examine whether archived pages exist for their sample references and then they assess the content drift of those that do. They conclude: "We find that representative snapshots exist for about 30% of all URI references. . . . We find that for over 75% of references the content has drifted away from what it was when referenced. These results raise significant concerns regarding the long term integrity of the web-based scholarly record and call for the deployment of techniques to combat these problems." - CB

Muccie, Mary Rose, Joe  Lucia, and Elliott  Shore, et. al.Across the Great Divide: Findings and Possibilities for Action from the 2016 Summit Meeting of Academic Libraries and University Presses with Administrative Relationships (P2L)  Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, December 2016.( - This "white paper" serves as a summary of the issues raised at a summit bringing together university presses that have an administrative relationship with the library (typically the press reporting to the library, or "P2L"). The paper "discusses key issues covered in the summit, areas that need greater mutual understanding between libraries and presses, the press’s role on campus, preliminary recommendations that came out of the summit, and the European perspective on these issues as presented by Wolfram Horstmann (Göttingen State and University Library, Germany)." The core of the paper is only seven pages of text, but the front matter and multiple appendices brings it to 31 pages total. Preliminary recommendations include integrate press and library staff as much as possible, partner on developing publishing expertise as an educational asset, leverage the strengths of both the library and press to create open educational resources, and develop a shared approach to digital scholarship. Another summit is planned that will be open to a wider audience and structured to allow more time for discussion. - RT

Rinto, Erin, Melissa  Bowles-Terry, and Ariel J.  Santos. "Assessing the Scope and Feasibility of First-Year Students’ Research Paper TopicsCollege & Research Libraries  77(6)(November 2016): 749-764. ( - In this study, the authors examine the research questions developed by first-year students in a composition course. The research questions, intended to frame an 8-10 page term paper, were created using an interactive digital worksheet that walks the students through focusing a general topic into a research question. The authors developed a rubric to analyze and rate the questions to determine if students were choosing topics of an appropriate scope for the project. The authors found that even those students whose topics were highly rated still struggled with selecting topics that would allow them to present an argument, as opposed to writing an informative paper. This, and some additional analysis the authors performed, guided them in reworking parts of the information literacy instruction sessions presented to these students. The article provides an interesting model for similar explorations on other campuses; in particular the rubric they developed may prove useful both in formal research and in more informal evaluation of student research topics. - AC

Rosenthal, David. "The Medium-Term Prospects for Long-Term Storage Systems   (13 December 2016)( - In this expanded version of an article slated to appear in Library Hi Tech, Rosenthal surveys the current state of storage media used in digital preservation and speculates as to what will happen to the field during the next twenty years. After reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, and cost of existing and emergent storage technologies, he concludes that long data life and reliability will only be achieved through the use of systems that anticipate "that media and other hardware components will be replaced frequently, and that data will be replicated across multiple media." This is a comprehensive overview of storage, and a handy counter-argument to anyone who states that our digital preservation needs will somehow be solved in the next few years by exotic new technologies such as DNA storage. - PH

Zimmerman, Julia, and Susannah C.  Miller. "Shooting at Florida State University Libraries: The Act, Aftermath, and ResponseResearch Library Issues  (289)(2016)( - Your information studies program probably didn't offer a course that discussed responding to shootings, terrorism, and other acts of violence in libraries. Sadly, such course coverage may be needed now. In the meantime, you can read this detailed account of the Florida State University Libraries' response to a FSU alumnus firing a semiautomatic handgun in the Robert Manning Strozier Library on November 20, 2014, injuring two students and a staff member before being shot dead by police. Afterwards, the library made significant changes: "Our new staffng model replaced the library security department's student workers with permanent staff. We now have 10 full-time and 3 part-time security staff, including the head of security, 3 supervisors, 6 full-time security guards, and 3 part-time security guards to oversee our busiest and largest facilities, Strozier and Dirac." This is a cautionary tale well worth reading and thinking about. - CB